What does FCA regulated mean?

4 min read

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the conduct regulator for around 51,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK.

Its primary aim is to ensure financial markets work honestly, fairly and effectively for individuals, businesses and the economy as a whole. It achieves this by:

  • Regulating the conduct of around 51,000 businesses
  • Prudentially supervising 49,000 firms
  • Setting specific standards for around 18,000 firms

The FCA was established in 2013, taking over responsibility for conduct and relevant prudential regulation from the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

It works alongside the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), the prudential regulator of around 1,500 banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms.


Firms and individuals must be authorised or registered by the FCA to carry out certain activities.

Applicants must meet specific requirements before the FCA permits them to operate in the market. They review their business plans, risks, budgets, resources, systems, controls and whether key staff have the necessary qualifications and experience to carry out their roles effectively.

Once authorised, they must continue to meet FCA standards and rules and achieve good outcomes.

Financial services providers must be authorised by the FCA. According to provisions made under the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000, financial activities have to be regulated by the FCA. Any firm (whether a business, a not-for-profit or a sole trader) carrying out a regulated activity must be authorised or registered by the FCA unless they are exempt.

How does a business become FCA regulated?

When applying for authorisation - which can take anything from six to 12 months - businesses must show they are ‘ready, willing and organised’ to comply with the rules, requirements and standards of the regulatory system.

This means that the business and the people running it are capable of making informed decisions about how to run that business and are accountable for their actions. They must be:

  • Ready to work with the FCA to meet their obligations.
  • Willing to be open, honest and proactive in understanding and carrying out their regulatory duties.
  • Organised enough to carry out the activity they’ve applied for regulation in.

Once authorised and regulated, businesses need to meet a strict set of minimum standards, comply with the rules and principles relevant to their market and send regular reports to the FCA demonstrating this.

What does being FCA regulated mean for our customers?

The FCA will regularly ‘review how the firm engages with customers to check that they are being treated fairly during their relationship with the firm’.

The application and process of getting FCA regulation is comprehensive, so you can be sure that those businesses granted regulation are ready, willing and organised to comply with the standards of the regulatory system. Therefore, you know that when you use Clear Currency to transfer your money, you’re dealing with a firm that meets those exacting standards.

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None of the information contained in this website constitutes, nor should be construed as financial advice.

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